This month, nine local teams of architects, engineers, construction companies and other organizations will construct massive holiday-themed art sculptures made of canned food items – all to help fight hunger in the region.

For the third year, Messer Construction Co. is presenting the “Holiday Canstruction” art exhibition, which will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. The sculptures will be on display Nov. 21-Dec. 3 at the Knoxville Convention Center. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

“Holiday Canstruction is set to break another food donation record,” said Randy Fields, Messer business development executive and Holiday Canstruction event chair. “At Messer, we believe in ‘building’ the communities in which we live and work, so this is a perfect way for us to invest in East Tennessee by helping fight hunger in our community.”

The art sculptures will be judged by a panel of celebrity judges and evaluated in several categories, including jurors’ favorite, structural ingenuity, best use of labels and best meal.

The “People’s Choice” award will be selected by the public via online voting Nov. 21-30 at http://www.holidaycanstruction.com, and the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital “Kids’ Choice” award will be selected by voters 17 years old and under who complete paper ballots during the hospital’s Fantasy of Trees event.

Award winners will be announced at a reception on Dec. 1.

“Canstruction raises awareness for hunger relief, especially during the holidays, and allows the teams to make a real difference in the region,” Fields said. “It also shows the creativity and talents of the architecture, engineering and construction industry in East Tennessee. Everyone involved, from the teams who makes the sculptures to those who view the exhibit, enjoy this holiday event in Knoxville.”

Participating teams include:

  • Bush Brothers & Company, BarberMcMurry Architects and Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc.
  • Cope Architecture and S&ME Littlejohn
  • Design Innovation Architects, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, Realty Trust Group and Hedstrom Design
  • Gresham, Smith & Partners and Bhate Geosciences Corp.
  • Johnson Architecture, Moxley Carmichael and Partners
  • Messer Construction Co. and CH2M Hill
  • Michael Brady Inc. and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)
  • Scripps Networks Interactive and McCarty Holsaple McCarty
  • University of Tennessee Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

On Nov. 20, the teams will gather at the Knoxville Convention Center for an eight-hour build of their holiday-themed sculptures. Each Canstruction sculpture typically uses between 1,500 and 5,500 canned food items, with only one-quarter-inch plywood or Plexiglas between the rows of cans and one-quarter-inch cardboard tubing for support. The color of the sculptures is determined by the colors of the cans and labels.

After the exhibition, the sculptures will be dismantled and the canned foods donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. Last year’s event contributed 19,000 items to Second Harvest, and organizers expect the donation to surpass that mark this year.

“Messer’s support of this event and its expected growth this year will allow us to help even more families during the holidays,” said Elaine Streno, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, which serves 18 counties. “We are grateful to all of the teams for their time and commitment to Canstruction and appreciate being the beneficiary of this great holiday event.”

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee targets the working poor – those who are working but might not receive benefits or earn high wages from their work. A Gallup poll states that one in five Americans are struggling to feed themselves or their families. In East Tennessee, 200,000 people fall within the income level to be at-risk of going hungry. 

The Holiday Canstruction art exhibition will be open to the public Nov. 21-Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with expanded hours during East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s Fantasy of Trees event, Nov. 25-29.

For more information, visit http://www.holidaycanstruction.com.

About Messer Construction Co.

Messer Construction Co. is a construction manager and general contractor providing leadership for complex commercial building projects. An employee-owned company, Messer builds better lives for its customers, communities and each other, and delivers value through quality construction and client experiences. Founded in 1932, Messer’s footprint has grown to nine regional offices located across the Midwest and Southeast. The company is consistently ranked among the country’s 100 largest contractors by Engineering News-Record, and this year rose to No. 58, after putting in place more than $1.03 billion in commercial construction in 2014.The company is consistently ranked among the country’s 100 largest contractors by Engineering News-Record, and in fiscal 2014, Messer put in place $1.03 billion in commercial construction. Messer now stands as one of the nation’s leading health care and higher education builders, and also boasts extensive, award-winning work in the life sciences and industrial market segments. Messer employees live where they work, resulting in the company’s sustained commitment to building better communities. That commitment has remained paramount throughout Messer’s growth, and it is achieved annually through the company’s own foundation and through the time, service and dollars invested by its employee-owners in community organizations and causes.

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